Book report: Sustainable Transportation Planning

Michael Alba reports from Boston on this new guide for transport planners:

Sustainable Transportation Planning seeks to tackle the greatest social and environmental concerns of the 21st century, focusing on the role of transportation in creating more sustainable communities. It is a how-to guide for anyone interested in the economic, social and ecological health of cities.

Written in accessible language, the book starts with our brain chemistry, noting how excessive driving makes us anti-social and dumb, while more walking and biking can produce results nearly as good as cocaine or orgasm. It explores the unique needs of all modes of transportation, and provides tools for helping them get along with each other in congested cities, station areas and small town main streets.

Sustainable Transportation Planning explodes the myth that traffic congestion is a “problem” that needs “solving,” yet presents common-sense and affordable solutions that all cities can implement to make the most efficient use of their limited transportation resources, and achieve their larger job creation, resilience, public health, equity and human happiness goals.

The book offers a big-picture approach to transportation systems. Using clear, nontechnical language, this guide provides step-by-step instructions for implementing smart transportation concepts in cities of all sizes. Making this material accessible opens the door to greater participation in transportation planning by design and policy professionals, as well as citizen activists. The text also helps transportation professionals better understand and align their discipline within the broader movement toward sustainable urbanism.

Written and edited by a dozen Nelson\Nygaard staffers and led by Jeffrey Tumlin, Sustainable Transportation Planning features:

• Background on how transportation relates to land use planning, economic development, public health, social capital, and ecological success in cities.

• Technical guidance on all modes of transportation, and tools for balancing the needs of each mode against the others.

• Tools for managing transportation systems efficiently, including the role of parking and transportation demand management.

• Approaches for designing station areas and other locations where there is a high need to accommodate all modes, as well as the need to create a great sense of “place.”

• Case studies that look at exemplary projects across North America

Working from a comprehensive definition of sustainability—one that encompasses economic, ecological, and social vitality—Sustainable Transportation Planning provides the definitive sourcebook for understanding and implementing the full range of modern community transportation systems.

Sustainable Transportation Planning  is available from Amazon, other e-sources, and better yet your nearest bookstore.

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Jeffrey Tumlin is a principal and sustainability practice leader for Nelson\Nygaard, a San Francisco-based transportation planning and engineering firm that focuses on sustainable mobility. he has extensive experience working with cities, developers and regional governments to foster economic development while improving quality of life through smart transportation investments. In almost all of his projects, he uses direct community involvement to ensure long term success and feasibility. His expertise covers four key areas: Planning for Urban Infill and New Towns; Transit-Oriented Development; Regional Transit Planning; and Multimodal Planning.

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From the editor:

I have had a good look at Jeff’s book and I can recommend it to teachers, students and practitioners.  (PS. In fact, I wish I had written it -;)

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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2 thoughts on “Book report: Sustainable Transportation Planning

  1. it’s a pity that the book is so expensive (79 USD plus shipping), because it seems to be most useful. For those of us who feel that spending almost 100 USD in this book is too much (when shipping overseas, as in my case), I would recommend reading the free downloadable resources at . However, I am sure the book referenced in this post is most wortwhile for those who can buy it.

    • Yes, a very good point. Based on the thought that man does not live by bread alone (though it helps) let’s see if we can approach them and ask them to do a BIG favor for our readers and colleagues around the world who could make good use of this set of guidelines. I will go over there and see if I can shake the tree.


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